Tengboche Monastery, the wonderful premises along the EBC Trekking trail. The place offers astonishing views of Mount Everest ranges and other towering peaks.
The beautiful Tengboche Monastery is located in the Everest region of Nepal. It is the largest Tibetan monastery of Khumbu region. This is known as Aka Dawa Choling Gompa which lies in the Tengboche village of the Khumjung in the region of the eastern part of Nepal at an altitude of 3,867 meters (12,687 ft) above sea level. It follows Tibetan Buddhism as the Rongbuk Monastery of Tibet is its mother monastery. Tengboche monastery is considered to be one of the largest Gompa and is en route to the world-famous Everest base camp. The Tibetan Buddhist monastery is a living example of the Sherpa culture, ancient art, and handicrafts.
Moreover, Tengboche is surrounded by the scattering of the village temple, contents, and other religious shrines. The mani walls, the slabs of stone with inscriptions of sacred texts, and holy prayers add more flavor to the journey. Talking about the mantra, usually, Chenrezig, and “Om Mani Padme Hum”, are stacked to form walls, and some date to 1915. The walls and shrines are covered with a different colored flag, generally, the flag is of five colors, inscribed with holy mantras denoting the five Buddhist elements of earth, wind, fire, water, and consciousness, are strung at high peaks where the winds blow, carrying the prayers to the heavens. How beautiful isn’t it?
Undoubtedly, after looking at a wall of the monastery the questions about them will hit one’s mind. So that’s why here in the below article we have tried to uncover some amazing facts about the Tengboche monastery that you might never hear before or never read before. Thus, stick with us till the end of this article.
Every October, Tengboche Monastery hosts the colorful Mani Rimdu festival. It is a culmination of Buddhist celebrations with religious gatherings, songs, dances, and enactments of legends. The visitors are also welcome to take part in the festivities.
History of Tengboche monastery
The largest Tibetan monastery in the Khumbu region has its own significant and unique history. The house structure of the village and the culture of the people highly influenced Buddhism. It is believed that the Lama Sangwa Dorje endowed the monastery along with other oldest monasteries including Pangboche and many small hermitages 350 years ago. Similarly, it is also believed that the divine psychic knowledge and clairvoyant vision of the lama had prophesied the suitability of establishing a monastery at Tengboche by leaving his footprint on a rock while meditation.
However, the monastery only endowed Ngawang Tenzin Norbu's time. Likewise, the Norbu was said to be Sangwa Dorje's fifth incarnation. Not only that, but Norbu is also the founder of the Rongbuk monastery in Tibet on the northern face of Mount Everest. Further, he blessed Chatang Chotar, known as Lama Gulu, to find the Tengboche monastery at Tengboche village. As a result, it is here since 1916 and celibate firs monastery under the Nyingmapa lineage of Vajrayana Buddhism.
Sadly, in 1931, along with the Tengboche with other huge buildings were destroyed by the earthquake. consequently, Lama Gulu also died. Then with the help of the local people and the skilled carpenter from Lhasa rebuild the monastery. However, the monastery's precious old scriptures, statues, murals, and wood carvings were destroyed in the devastating fire caused by an electrical short circuit on January 19, 1989. The monumental stone credited with Lama Sangwa Dorje's left footprint had also fractured. However, a few trekkers managed to recover several books and paintings. It has since been entirely rebuilt with cash donated from all around the world.
Tengboche monastery’s culture and Sherpa people
Some 450 years ago, the Bhotia people moves south from Tibet and later live in the mountainous Himalayan regions of northern Nepal. The people who migrated from there most of them are Sherpa. Yes! The majority of this region is covered by the Sherpa people. They mainly practiced lamaistic Buddhism and maintained themselves through agriculture, livestock-raising, and long-distance trade into Tibet and the Middle Hills to the south.
As we have talked about a couple of times ago, the Tengboche village is a central hub for insightful resources into the life of the Sherpa, who migrated from Tibet around six hundred years ago. While traveling or visiting this village one can get to experience the Sherpa festival, Sherpa people, and their cuisine. Many travelers also claimed that the people around this region are very helpful and very lovely. Moving back to the culture of the Tengboche monastery the art and craft of the monastery is something that one cannot forget in their lifetime. Most of the art is craved by skilled locals. Similarly, the head of the monastery and other community member runs the monastery. Each year thousands of people come here just to see the people, the monks, and the mountains of the Khumbu region.
Mani Rimdu festival
Mani Rimdu festival is one of the most celebrated and important festivals in the Khumbu region. Each year thousands of Sherpas travel a long journey to witness this event. Generally, it falls during the tenth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, corresponding to the autumn season (October–November) of the Gregorian calendar. And it lasts for nineteen days, thus you can witness the whole festival and even participate in the events. The festivities also include meditation and ceremonies.
Mani means “part of the chant of Chenrezig” and Rimdu means small red pills that are blessed during the festival. Similarly, the red pills are blessed repeatedly and then distributed to all those who attend. Similarly, the festival is traditionally passed by its mother monastery, the Rongbuk. The festival began with an elaborate depiction of the mandala diagram finished with colored sand. According to the locals, the sand is extracted from a specified location of the hills. Drawing a mandala takes around four days and is considered to be a religious festival that lasts for 10 days.
In total there are 16 dance programs with interludes for a comical effect. Following the devotees, the monk starts to perform a fire rite to dispel all harm to the world. Later, the sand mandala specially shaped for the festival is then formally detached with prayers for the profit of all sentient beings. At the end of the Mani Rimdu, Tengboche Rinpoche of the monastery blesses the public and an interesting thing about the festival is the masked man’s dance by the monks. They believe that the dance also displays the defeat of demons and the initiation of Buddhism. Hence, Mani Rimdu is said to be one of the major attractions for tourists in Nepal.
Mountains views from Tengboche
As we have mentioned a couple of times the Tengboche village offers rich cultures, languages, and ethnic foods. Apart from that millions of visitors come here to just taste the food, experience the culture, and obviously see the world's highest mountain Everest. The beautiful place has everything that trekkers seek for. From here you can witness the spectacular peaks including Nuptse (7,861 m), Ama Dablam (6,856 m), Kangtega (6,685 m), Thamserku (6,608 m), Khumbila (5,761 m), Taboche (6,542 m), Mount Everest (8,848.86 m), and Kongde (6,187 m).
Getting into there
Located at an altitude of 3,867 meters (12,687 ft), Tengboche monastery lies on the route to Everest Base Camp Trek, and it is one of the most prominent and the largest monastery in the entire region. It is perched on top of a hill, at the confluence of the Dudh Koshi and Imja Khola rivers, with Mt. Ama Dablam forming a stunning backdrop to the location. The site can be reached by a mountainous trail from Namche Bazaar, via Lukla airport connecting to Kathmandu. Thus, first, you have to reach the capital of Nepal that is Kathmandu, a city of temples.
Day 1: Flight from Kathmandu, to Lukla and hike to Phakding
This Tengboche Monastery trek starts with a short dramatic flight to Lukla from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The fight basically takes 40 minutes to reach Lukla. After walking for around four hours you will reach Phakding. Phakding is a small village with a rich culture in the Khumbu region of Nepal at an elevation of 2,610 meters. While trekking from Lukla you will pass through lush green forests, temples, rivers, suspension bridges, and local settlements. At night you will stay overnight at a hotel/lodge in Phakding. In the morning you will be amazed by the beautiful spectacular sights of Mount Kusum Kanguru, Mount Gongla, Mount Karyolung, and Mount Nupla.
Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar
The second day of your journey’s destination is Namche Bazaar. Following breakfast in the morning at Phakding, you will be heading towards the biggest trade Bazaar. While trekking you will pass through the suspension bridges, lush rhododendron forest, Dudh Koshi River, and dense pine forest. Similarly, you will also get to witness some jaw-dropping some glimpse of Nuptse (7,879 meters), Kusum Kanguru (6,369 meters), and Thamserku (6,608 meters). Later, spend your night at lodges/hotels in Namche Bazaar.
Day 3: Namche Bazaar to Khumjung
Following one night in Namche Bazaar, today your next destination will be will reach Khumjung. After having breakfast at Namche you will trek uphill for 40 to 50 minutes to reach Syangboche and then after to Khumjung. During trekking, you will able to enjoy the rest of the day exploring the village. During the trek to Khumjung at an elevation of 3,440 meters, you will have panoramic sights of peaks like Thamserku, Ama Dablam, and Lhotse.
Day 4: Khumjung to Tengboche
Finally, after completing the morning routine, you will start the journey to Tengboche. The pathway to Tengboche falls on the riverbank of Phungi Thanga town, from where there is a steep hike to Tengboche village. You will walk through the rhododendron forest with an attractive sight of Ama Dablam Mountain. It takes about 5 to 6 hours to complete the trail distance. You will stay overnight in a local tea house or lodge at Tengboche. Similar to the day, on this day you will also be able to witness the majestic Mount Everest, Khumbila, Nuptse, Lhotse, Lhotse Shar, Thamserku, Lobuche, Nupla, Kusum Kanguru, Shar, and Khumbila. The main attractions of the day are hills, forests covered with pine, rhododendron trees, monasteries, and so on.
Day 5: Returning from Tengboche to Monjo
After breakfast in Tengboche, you'll return to Namche Bazaar for lunch and any last-minute shopping before starting your hike down to Monjo. On this day you will walk on steeply down along the Dudh Kosi river. After that, you will cross the river and follow it to Jorsale, and then continue crossing the river a few more times to Monjo (9,301 feet / 2,835 m) where you'll stay overnight.
Day 6: Trek from Monjo to Lukla
Following breakfast, in Monjo, your next day trek will begin. Along with the Dudh Koshi river, you will reach Monjo to the ghat and stop for lunch before continuing to make your way through villages like Chumoa, Phakding, Chuthawa, and Benkar. However, sometimes the downhill slip of the trail might be a big problem during the trek. After 5 to 7 hours you will reach Lukla which is full of the café, bars, and shops. After exploring the day at Lukla you can fly back to Kathmandu where you have started your journey.
Other monasteries near Tengboche
Yes! Tengboche is not only a monastery that is located in the Khumbu region. There are several monasteries in the beautiful Khumbu region. Here is some list of the monasteries located in the Khumbu region;
1. Lukla Monastery
As stated before, Lukla is the starting point of the Tengboche is Lukla. The small Nyingma-pa gompa is named after the beautiful village. For the location, you can also search it on Google location. Inside the Monastery, there are five cons, from left to right being Buddha, the red Guru Takpa, Guru Rinpoche center, the white Sanayduma, and Chenresig. While outside, there is a colorful wheel of life, the usual guardians, and an image of Mi Tsering, the wise man of the Khumbu who tells jokes at the main festival. Currently, there are 15-35 students including monks and the monastery has a Thangka painting school, offering some works for sale.
2. Pangboche Monastery
Pangboche is another beautiful monastery in the Khumbu region. This monastery used to be the house of the so-called yeti scalp and hand. But it disappeared a few years ago. Inside the monastery, there is a big statue of Guru Rinpoche and his consorts. While at outside there are paintings of the four main guardian deities and the eight auspicious signs on each side of the doors.
3. Phakding Monastery
Compared to the above two monasteries this Phakding monastery is large. It is Nyingma-pa and there are 20 monks and nuns in residence and offering puja, usually in the mornings. Inside the Gompa, there are several statues. Among them, one is the statue of a fearsome vision of Guru Rinpoche holding his usual Vajra/Dorje, the mace of skulls and vase-like objects. On either side of him is even more fearsome visions; these two female deities are his consorts, known in Nepal generally as Yeshe Tsogyal and Mandarava. Similarly, on the very right side, there is a very strange-looking white demon with a ghastly mouth and fearsome eyes called Dorje Tapu. Also on display are Sakyamuni Buddha and Chenresig.
Likewise, there are several amazing old silk and wood-painted panels exposed in the courtyard of the monastery. Thus, while traveling to Phakding once visit Phakding Monastery.
4. Namche Monastery
Well, in the Namche bazaar there is a small Nyingma-pa monastery named Namche monastery. It offers a fine golden image of Chenresig, the Tibetan bodhisattva commonly known as Avalokiteshvara in Nepal. Like other monasteries, there is a large image of Guru Rinpoche with an image of the Sakyamuni Buddha the earthly Buddha born in Nepal, and two Taras, the female deities linked to the Buddha. Likewise, there are two very large prayer wheel chambers. Not only that, there are eight images are Padma Sambhava, Sengge Dragtog, Lodan Choged, Nima Odzer, Shakya Sengge, Dorje Drolod, Tsoke Dorje in Yab-yum, and Padma Gyalpo.
5. Karok Monastery
Well, this is another beautiful monastery in the Khumbu region. Walking smoothly to a little steep uphill next to the signboard heading left you will see the oldest monastery named, Kyarok Sangngag Choling monastery. Like other monasteries, this monastery follows the Nyingma-pa old traditions and is overseen by Kerok Gaga Lama, whose picture is seen as gompa. Inside the monastery, there is a big dark chamber included on the left Tsuma, with five skulls and a fearsome appearance in red color. Scary right? Apreat5 from that there is another big Guru Rinpoche statue that takes certain stages on and the right is a fierce snow lion icon, with the name unknown to us. Meanwhile, outside of the monastery, there is a familiar wheel of life and guardians of the four directions. Likewise, on the right side, there is an unusual painting of a stupa; it seems fairly contemporary in age and design.
Tengboche monastery’s weather
Like other places in Nepal this region also experiences four distinct weather (summer, autumn, winter, and spring). The best time to visit Tengboche monastery is considered to be spring and autumn. During this season the view around the monastery is very clear.
And also the temperature during this season is moderate. Not only that, you can hear the crisping of the bird. Meanwhile, in summer the average temperature is around 10.1 degrees Celsius while in winter the temperature might fall under -2.2 degrees Celsius. Thus traveling during this season, trekkers might face more difficulty as compared while trekking in spring and autumn. Despite the difficulty, it is possible to visit this place during this season. One benefit of trekking during this season is the fewer crowds.
Thus, while visiting the Tengboche make sure that you will visit these beautiful monasteries. If you want to see the world's highest mountain, largest monastery, flora and rich fauna, Sherpa culture people, and their cuisine the Tengboche is highly recommended. If you are thinking that your money with worth visiting this place or we guarantee you that this place needs a chance and each penny will bring you lifetime memories.